If Arsenal’s lack of signings so far in the transfer window cause Unai Emery to get desperate, he’ll be doing more damage to his team if he makes the club’s reported approach for Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez a reality.
Spanish publication AS suggested last week that The Gunners were in talks over a move for the winger valuing up to €35m (£31.4m).
It is understandable why an Arsenal move to Vazquez would appeal, with The Gunners low on players in wide positions, Real Madrid having added plenty of attacking firepower already this season and Euro 2020 on the horizon.
But for Arsenal to outlay over three-quarters of their reported transfer budget on a 28-year-old player who would presumably be below the required standards of Real Madrid in the event they were happy to release him, Emery would be doomed to fail if he pursues a player who, on previous evidence, would do little to enhance The Gunners’ attacking force.
Vazquez’s goal returns have been remarkably bland at the Bernabeu – never scoring more than eight times in a single season – while last year’s haul of five is hardly worthy of a transfer fee north of £30m, especially for a player of his age.
Based on his previous totals, Arsenal would surely be better off giving youth a chance. Put it this way – Reiss Nelson scored more playing for a mid-table German side in the space of two months than Vazquez managed for the then-European champions throughout the whole of last season.
On that basis, it is difficult to justify Arsenal’s interest in Vazquez in the first place, with cost-cutting sure to benefit Emery as he looks to fund a move for Wilfried Zaha on a shoestring budget and chase other targets in the meantime.
So not only could Vazquez’s arrival hold promising young prospects back, but it could also deny Arsenal the chance to strengthen in other areas with such little luxury in terms of finances.
Even if Vazquez was to deliver next season, putting the rebuild of Arsenal’s squad in other areas of the pitch on the backburner to seal his transfer could risk the team’s long-term future.
As Arsenal’s problems at the back are laid bare by their final Premier League standing from last season, neglecting the opportunity to improve the backline by seeking the signature of a lacking (and ageing) wide player is reckless, panicky and unnecessary.
Putting the brakes on this move is paramount should the rumours turn out to carry any weight, as Vazquez has done little to warrant a place in any future Arsenal side with his previous career exploits.
He may have three Champions Leagues to his name, but signing Vazquez won’t get Arsenal back into the competition any sooner.